Archive for the ‘lifestyle’ Category

We have all heard that “communication is key” but what are the keys to good communication?
What makes communication break down in the first place? I remember hearing a radio talk show many years ago, a man was describing how he and his wife had two totally different views about how you take care of a sick person. He was down with a cold, and asked her for some orange juice, she came back with what he thought to be a thimble full, and his expectation of a big tumbler full was unfulfilled. The two  were raised differently, one with small glasses of O.J.  being left alone to sweat it out, the other being pampered with lots of juice, soup and attention. Case in point, communication is not just words, and it is also important to note that whatever it is, goes through a sort of prism of our own personal experiences, thought processes, and communication styles.

What goes out of our mouth, hits the ear of the hearer, goes through the filter of their point of reference, bents, insecurities, etc. and they take it the way they do according to that. Each person has their own filter.  What the difficult task is , is to be completely vulnerable in exposing our filters to the people around us, so they understand our communication styles. This of course includes our insecurities, anxieties, fears, opinions etc.  My husband grew up in a large, loud, Spanish speaking  family.  They all spoke over one another, and nobody took it with any offense.  I, on the other hand, grew up in a family where you didn’t communicate at all, and children were to “speak when spoken to” ” seen and not heard”.  No noise at the dinner table etc, so when I first experienced my husband loud talking, I thought he was angry with me, and broke down crying.  He and my children to this day speak with passion, a bit loud, but I understand this to be their style.  They on their part, speak to me with a softer tone, and try to be mindful of my need for a  less robust conversation.

How do we find the best way to speak to each other? I tried to think of the best communicator of all time, and  of Jesus, it is said: (John 1:1)” in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was GOD….and vs 14 and the word became flesh and dwelt among us” The very word of God, came to earth and became a man so that we would know how to live in this world amongst each other in a bond of love and in humility.

In the book of John, Christ used the term ‘ Verily, Verily I say unto you’… no less than 18 times. In one book!  When a word is spoken twice, it means listen carefully.  I think we have to take notice of this first off, as he knows our  propensity to listen with only half of our attention.  We need to be sure that the person is really taking a hard listen if we have an important thing to impart to them.  Don’t expect them to be listening intently to your heart felt outpourings if you don’t get their undivided attention first. Also notice, we may need to repeat ourselves.

Jesus spoke to the disciples, and crowds  in Parables ( stories which teach lessons ).  Jesus used things very familiar to the people around Him to paint mental pictures so that they would understand the things He was trying to impart to them.  Many times, we need to find a thing that our spouse, or child, friend etc. can relate to, and use that to paint a picture of how something may be affecting us, or maybe what we may need from them.  Whether it is using children’s toys or a husbands computer program, or car engine, golf game etc. There is a way to ‘story tell’ so that making a parallel using that imagery will help them connect with you.  Reading the Parables will help understand what I mean here.

Jesus said we are the salt of the earth, from what I have read about this, Jesus being a Rabbi, would have understood that  sacrifices and blessings were made with an application of salt. Salt was used to preserve, to purify, to bless, and to flavor.  When we communicate anything to one another, let us keep in mind, that we are called the salt of the Earth, which should heal one another, and purify, when one is in the wrong, salt will draw out the poison of sin ( in 2 Kings 19 Elisha threw salt into the poison well to heal it, and turn the water sweet)  apply the words of restoration to them in love = salt, Blessing = salt we should be blessing each other by actions, and words, every day, without fail. Jesus is our example, and He gives us all we need to carry out loving one another in this way… ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

He has given us the key, He knows us- each one of us Intimately, our very  hairs are numbered, he knows our hearts,  our failings, and the things we have endured.  We can trust that He will give us the wisdom to use the keys He has given us to lovingly, communicate with one another.  As we desire to do what is in the best interest of the people we love, We can’t go wrong in seeking Him for guidance and wisdom in the process.

Read Full Post »

Humility is a term I have not understood very well in my lifetime. It got tangled up with inferiority, self doubt, timidity, and many other things, but God in His wisdom never lets us stay in a state of confusion about such things, so He lays out lesson plans for us to learn how to walk in true humility.

Definition: modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.

It takes conflict in one form or another to expose the lack of real humility in our lives. First God exposes us through various conflicts. For me, I was certain God wanted me to step out in my gifts, and serve the church with my talents in decorating for events etc.   As I volunteered, I went up against a person who has been in charge for a long time, and  has had a fairly iron grip on the whole program. I would try to be a part, but felt I could not really do what I was good at. I didn’t necessarily want to be ‘in charge’, but I did have a feeling of self importance. I wanted autonomy, to be taken seriously, after all I did that for a living in the past…  I was good at this stuff!  I was seeing things in myself I didn’t know were there;  attitudes not pleasing to God.   Here is the kicker… I realized that in this process, I was also dealing with a childhood hangover- VALIDATION.  Some heavy emotional baggage from childhood left me in need of much grace in this area.  I have struggled with needing affirmation from and for the things I do.  Affirmation for a job well done somehow validating my existence? In my heart I know it is ridiculous,  but it is the trap I fall into if I am not careful.

Do I really think it matters if I contribute? Was it really because I want to be a blessing or because I have a need to fulfill in my own life?  When we serve our families, is it for the accolades, the appreciation, the elimination of guilt, the fulfillment of being better than your own parent?

By His grace I know it is not about me, and my need for using my gifts and talents, rather, it is all about giving preference to others in serving wherever I can with no regard to my self.  These are the ‘golden nuggets’ of true love in the church, and in marriage and family : that we not regard ourselves as the most important, but that we look to serve the people around us because we care about them, and love them, not for anything we can get in return, no accolades, appreciation, gold stars, or brownie points.

Phillipians2: 1-8 “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,make my joy complete being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.Have this attitude among yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,but laid aside His privileges emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

It is difficult to look at yourself in terms of Pride and Humility, however, I think of scriptures which say GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” James 4:6

“I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.”—Ezekiel 34:26.

ERE is sovereign mercy—”I will give them the shower in its season.” Is it not sovereign, divine mercy?—for who can say, “I will give them showers,” except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain. Who sendeth down the rain upon the earth? Who scattereth the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord? So grace is the gift of God, and is not to be created by man. It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing. In vain you labour, until God the plenteous shower bestows, and sends salvation down. Then, it is plenteous grace. “I will send them showers.” It does not say, “I will send them drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! Ah! we want plenteous grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plenteous grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without saturating showers of grace. Again, it is seasonable grace. “I will cause the shower to come down in his season.” What is thy season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” And here is a varied blessing. “I will give thee showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” Look up to-day, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.

I pray I will learn quickly this lesson of HUMILITY, as it is my desire to do your will Father, and be all you want me to be.

Read Full Post »

Keep me low, keep me low…. I woke up this morning with these words going through my brain, over and over again. They became part of my prayer, as I realized that my new subject with the Lord is humility. I remembered an episode of The Dog Whisperer I saw recently ( I know, it sounds strange, where is this going?) There were two aggressive wolf hybrids which Caesar Milan was called in to help with. When he was introducing the regal, white wolf cross to his pack through the chain link fence, he was looking for one thing before he would let the huge canine join on the other side : his head to go low. It is a sign of submission, and acceptance that you are not the one “large and in charge”. I lay there in bed thinking, praying…this is not working!

I got up and went out where it was quiet in the living room, (yeah, snoring was distracting my prayers and thinking) After a time of praying on my face and asking God to keep me humble, I started getting bombarded with all the thoughts of what I had just given up. All the wrongs that had been done to me flooded in to my brain, and those words, “keep me low” started to make sense. I prayed more, and God started speaking to my heart about how in Genesis 21, there is a very small passage where Hagar and her son were in the wilderness, cast out from Abraham and Sarah’s family, God SAW her ( I AM ) the God who sees your need, your sorrow, the injustices, ( I AM ) your deliverer , comfort, strength, whatever you need.  I AM YOUR deliverer .  I have given you all that you need that pertains to life and godliness,  (2 Peter 1:3 ) , so walk in my strength and power.  I have overcome these things on your behalf, (John 16 :33) so put them to rest! This will be a process  for me that is for sure!

I love the story of Pilgrims Progress, Christian loses his burden at the foot of the cross.  That is at the beginning of his brave journey to the ‘Celestial City’.  Along his way, he falls into slumber, fights Appolyon, gets trapped in Doubting Castle, and locked up in Vanity Fair.  What is wonderful though, is that he had companions along the journey, some tested him, and some lifted him, yet all the while, The King was always there, His servants were there to guide and cheer him along the way.  Let us not grow weary in serving one another along our path to the Celestial City.  We are servants of The King!  To see a weary pilgrim along the path, and wonder what their problem is, and go along your merry way is just not pleasing to the king. (Ephesians 4 :2) If you see someone who you have a tendency to avoid, you may want to just find out what is going on in their life.  Chances are, you may be the only person who comes along side them as a traveling companion along their wearisome road.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Micah 6:8 He has not shown you oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you :
to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Read Full Post »

I have had this piece of old luggage  that I have carried with me my entire life.  At times I didn’t notice it too much, because I turned it into a backpack, but it grew larger and heavier as time went on.  As long as I had distractions, I would forget it was there, but like an elephant in the room, everyone noticed how it was destroying me, causing me to be more burdened, and thrown off balance from it’s weight. Eventually, I had completely lost my way.

That old backpack carried years of unforgiveness, bitterness, and pain from my past.  I thought I could just talk through things with those who wronged me, ( parents)  and we could get all the closure and forgiveness, and all would be well with my soul, but when they  didn’t respond to my gesture, but accused me of just wanting to hurt them by talking to them, shunned me for half a year, then called one day as if all is well,  thoughts of closure were left unfulfilled.

I started sensing some ‘strangeness’ when my adult children would be with me, they had become so concerned about this  “pack” on my back how was sucking the life out of me, they got together with dad and called for an intervention. He never said anything to me, he had a’ hands off wait and see what happens as I pray approach.’  As I explained to him, it is like the scripture which says, two are better than one, when one falls in a ditch, the other is there to lift him out. I had felt my husband knew I was in the ditch, but was sitting under a tree to see if I could find a way out on my own. Two of my children are more vocal and will call me out on things, and the breakthrough began.

After conversations with one of my sons, I started to realize how much I needed more accountability and started bravely getting back involved in the women’s ministry.  I jokingly say all the time, “there are two types of women in the world… toxic, and non toxic”.  I grew up with the second type, and I think I have had a fear of women ever since.  The new subject of study?  Humility. Have I been blessed so far?  Well, I have met all the non-toxic, full of loving Balm of Gilead types!

After a long talk with my only daughter, who is ready to have her first child, I got view into some things God wanted to expose, deal with, and so it began.  I had a long talk with hubby that night, and as I prayed both as I fell to sleep and  when I woke up, God showed me a few MAJOR things.

I asked the Lord to please help me get over these things,  I don’t want to be crippled by them!  He gave me a scripture Matt 18:22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  In forgiveness, did it matter if we had talked it through? No. Just forgive… ALL of it!  Once and for all!  O.K.  I will with your help,  The Bitterness- lay it aside!   Eph 4:1  Yes, Lord, I will. This burden has been my constant companion for so many years, you will have to be my strength, but I am ready, your love has lifted this burden, and I am so new in you today.

I went straight to my computer to check Morning and Evening on line, C.H. Spurgeon. I was so blessed by it, I felt sure God changed the message to fit my need!

“I will help thee, saith the Lord.”—Isaiah 41:14.

HIS morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help thee.” “It is but a small thing for Me, thy God, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with My blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose thee. I made the covenant for thee. I laid aside My glory and became a man for thee; I gave up My life for thee; and if I did all this, I will surely help thee now. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it thee; thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give. ‘Tis much for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. ‘Help thee?’ Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of My all-sufficiency. ‘I will help thee.'”
O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here—thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The Eternal God is thine helper!

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.”

Just as Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress was not even close to completing his journey when his burden fell from his back, I too have a long way to go.250px-pilgrims_progress_22I will be writing so much more as He is doing His work in me!

Read Full Post »

When I awoke this morning, I had a scripture going through my mind; “Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all [ye] that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

That passage in Matthew has always been one of my favorite life verses, getting me through many times of hardship, and sorrow.  When I think about how difficult things get when I try to face the challenges on my own, it mystifies me why I even try to tackle them alone in the first place.  When He says to take my yoke upon you, my yoke is easy… He is asking us to share our burdens with Him, let Him carry the weight of them for us. Yes, we will be there seeing the action first hand, we don’t get a “pass” to get out of the difficult times, but He is there along side, attached to us, by choice, saying “I’ve got this, you just walk next to me”.

While I was looking up yokes on-line to understand this before writing, I happened upon a youtube video of some Amish folks ploughing a field with two  yoked oxen.  The oxen were given small feed baskets of hay  to eat as they ploughed. It was so peaceful, no hardship for the oxen at all, only for the farmer ( smile ).  I thought about how fitting the above scripture was in that scene.  Jesus was familiar with these scenes, they were seasonal occurrences for Him.  The yoke is something we don’t relate to, so this passage goes under- appreciated. He is saying He wants to be a fellow laborer in all or endeavors. Don’t miss that.  There are some things he asks US to do though, as well.

1. Come unto Me.   2. Take my yoke upon you   3. Learn of Me.

First we need to be willing to come to Him without excuses, buts , justifications, or hesitation… just come to Him, acknowledging that He is the only one who has the answers, even if you’re not sure about that, what have you got to lose?  He takes us as we are, we don’t need to clean up our act, or give up things before we come to Him, just be real. He takes care of all that.  There is nothing so wretched that He cannot forgive, His Grace is sufficient to forgive  the most heinous sin. He is the one who justifies us, meaning: ” just ‘s if I’d ” (never done wrong).
Romans 3:21-24 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Take my yoke upon you, it is easy, my burden is light… There is a real lesson here, if He is the strong one, and you are yoked to Him, you would imagine your part would be to just sail along for the ride!  When my husband and I go kayaking, he does the lions share of the paddling.  I can always tell when he stops, as the weight of my stroke increases tremendously.  How very important it is for us to be in tandem with our Lord, staying firmly fixed on him. Letting Him be the one who carries our burdens, so our faces can reflect His glory, peace and rest, juxtaposed to the gnarled brow of hardship and angst.

Learn of me ; for I am meek and humble of heart.  What is it to be meek?  To have infinite resources at your command, but a complete, 100%  lack of self interest. All the power, complete control and humility for the sake of others. Can you imagine today’s philanthropist, if they had these qualities, it would be a wonderful thing, but each one has to blow the biggest horn, and contact as many press agencies as possible so we all know how great they are! That is NOT meekness by the way.  One example of meekness I love is in the garden of Gethsemane,  Jesus is praying His last prayer in the Garden before he is arrested… Luke 22:44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke 22:45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,

Luke 22:46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Luke 22:47 And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.

Luke 22:48 But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?

Luke 22:49 When they which were about him saw what would follow, they said unto him, Lord, shall we smite with the sword?

Luke 22:50 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.

Luke 22:51 And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.

Jesus in the middle of this chaotic scene, being arrested by a great  torch carrying mob, cared about the one man, a servant.  He healed his ear in the midst of his own betrayal, arrest, and soon to be crucifixion.  That is what I believe to be the definition of meek. He says if we learn of Him we will find rest for your souls. It makes perfect sense to me, as I have looked at this all morning, I have truly been at rest, he’s got this.  My financial struggles are nothing to Him, My physical ailments are a breeze when I am anchored to Him, because my soul is at Peace and Rest.

Read Full Post »

There is a song by the late Roby Duke, in which one of the verses says: “at the end of my rope He made a swing for me, and I swing without fear of tomorrow”.   How that verse ministers to me in my times of suffering.  I have been ill for the last several days, and when I get sick, I go down for the count.  I can chalk that up to having fibromyalgia, I just don’t get over things the way most  people do.  As I have been having this time of pain, and illness, I have been reminded of a time back when the children were younger, I was not yet diagnosed with fibro, and I was in the center ring of the three ring circus I called my life.  It was ‘all on’ all the burners were firing so to speak. Four kids homeschooling, a large garden, fruit trees, a small business, a husband commuting 65 miles to work, we were serving at church, the directors of children’s ministries, my husband on the elders board, meetings, church three times a week…WHEW!

My body was becoming ‘a walking, talking syndrome’ everything was going wrong , not able to sleep or eat, I got down to 97 pounds, very weak and dehydrated. I ended up in the hospital.  When I was in the hospital room changing into my gown, seeing nothing but bones, crying, I prayed, Lord, I have nothing left of me, I can’t do anything for anyone. I can’t do anything for you, or my family, or anyone…I am undone.  The Lord spoke to my heart, and told me, that is where you need to be to understand what I have done for you.  Apart from me you can do nothing.

John 1:3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Up to that time, and admittedly, some time after, I had never grasped the fact that I could do absolutely nothing apart from the grace and mercy of God. Additionally, I never understood that He loved me when I was at my lowest, most wretched state, as much as when I was the most pious.  These concepts were never hard for my husband to grasp, he had a happy childhood, with parents who were very affirming, he exudes confidence from every cell of his being.  Conversely, with my dysfunctional childhood, I never understood unconditional love, I could not grasp it to save my life!  I know with all my heart there are some of you out there who can relate to this, there are so many people who have struggled with this I have spoken with personally.  The thought that God could love me without me earning it… or someone else like my husband could love me, and keep loving me without me proving to him my worth over and over again. How liberating to know that the grace and mercy of God has been extended to us, and there need not be anything more added to what He has done for us- as a matter of fact, our adding to it is filthy, (Isaiah 64:6) and an insult to His perfect work.  When we understand who he is, The God of heaven and earth, who created all things, past present future; Philippians 2:6 ‘Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, 7 but made himself nothing,  taking the very nature Or the form of a servant,being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross’ It makes it easier to put into perspective our  place , realizing that there is no way we can add anything to what he has done for us.  The one thing I was left with through pondering the passage in Philippians, is a sense of awe of Jesus, He gave up everything and became like us.  Because of His great Love and Mercy, he bought my pardon, and made it possible for me to be reconciled with The Father, and have hope and healing.

Through death comes life.  I can’t understand His unsearchable love for me, until I die to myself and my old way of thinking, understanding that when He said “it is finished”  He paid the final price for sin.  That was my final liberation, mine and yours.  I heard a pastor on the radio give a message one day, telling a story about a man who was having difficulty with smoking cigarettes.  He felt guilt and shame about his smoking habit, and went to the pastor about it.  The pastor told the man to just go smoke his cigarettes, and just delight himself in his salvation, don’t worry so much-  take pleasure in your God.  A few weeks later, the man returned , saying he felt so free, and giddy from the pastors answer, he forgot to smoke!  He gave them up with ease, by just delighting in his salvation.  I think we forget about just delighting in the salvation He has bestowed upon us, the mercies,(being given more than we deserve) and we  reflect more often upon the deep pit we have been rescued out of,rather than the heights to which He is taking us! Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

I want to conclude this with a song from the group Leeland, watch the video, listen to the words, I hope they minister to you. I would love to hear some feedback from someone, or if you would like to message me, my email is there, it will not be published, and will be held in strict confidence.

Read Full Post »

Wherever you look throughout scripture, we are told to walk in truth, not to lie, not to bare false witness, that ‘the truth shall set you free’ yet somehow, we figure out a way to compartmentalize our lives to include God in some places , and not in others.  When it comes to keeping a matter from a spouse for instance, so as not to rock the boat, that would be an area we need to discuss. I suggest reading through the book of Ephesians, it is a wonderful book to get a grip on this area.  For now, I will address the various ways we keep things from one another to our own hurt, and what to do to avoid it.

A secret  withheld from a loved one, should have a reason, good or bad.  Of course, for reasons of joyful surprise, or the reasons given in this link, a wonderful article I found on lying :http://parablemania.ektopos.com/archives/2004/08/lying.html The rest of the time, secrets are destructive little devices which create division, and damage to the soul, spirit, and lifestyle.

First,  the secrets between  spouses, whether it be the husband keeping mismanagement of finances, gambling, or the loss of a job… or a wife hiding secret charge accounts, workplace flirtations, or even an affair perhaps. There are some darker, more taboo secrets I won’t address in this article, when I am ready, I will talk about those separately.  Whatever the secret may be, it is going to break down your relationship- Guaranteed.  If you ponder for a minute, having secrets from your spouse is living a lie.  In our society today, “little white lies” that so called ‘keep things from getting complicated’ are totally acceptable.  “what they don’t know won’t hurt them” Our propensity to be willing to ‘cover our own butts’ in any given situation, rather than exercise integrity is alarming. How did we get so lazy about personal responsibility?    Destructive and ugly, and able to tear away at the very foundations of a marriage; husband , if you have a habit as many do, of secretly looking at porn online, and don’t think it has no bearing on your relationship with your wife.  Soon she will not measure up to your desires, you will lust for more from her, your expectations will go unfulfilled, and soon emptiness will be all you have left.  God created her for you, and if you are satisfied in her alone, God will bless you in ways you will be unable to believe if you have eyes for her alone.  If any of these areas are ones you struggle with, confess to your spouse, and work through it together.  Yes, it will be difficult, but not impossible.

Next, secrets you may have with your child, between them and you, excluding your spouse.  Again, if it isn’t for a surprise you are planning, it will teach that child some very bad lessons.  The worst of which, is the art of lying and manipulation, working one parent against the other.  You will show the child a weakness of character in yourself, that you are willing to keep things from your spouse. Remember that a child feels most secure when they know that their parents have a solid relationship. You also have the best defense against whining, rebellious, and manipulative children if you have a united approach to your children’s upbringing, and don’t do things behind one another’s back.  This is especially hard for divorced parents sharing custody, trying not to give ammunition to a contentious ex-spouse leaves little choice, but to have good communication, and strong will to avoid letting the child(ren) get in the middle of the two of you. The best policy is to always stand in the light of truth, and full disclosure, so there is no room for accusation, misunderstanding, or manipulation.

Hebrews 4:12-13
12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Revealing what should be (secret) things personal to you and your spouse, to friends, or family members should be avoided.  What I am talking about is: your private things should be kept private, don’t go to mom ladies with your frustrations about hubby, it will make him look bad to your parents, which is destructive in itself.  Talking about your sex life to your friends in a “just for fun” way is never good either.  This goes for both of you… Do you love ,respect, and cherish your partner, or think of your spouse as a way to get your needs satisfied?  Mutual respect and cherishing your spouse is so important to keeping  your relationship on the right track to deepening and growing stronger over time, as opposed to diminishing and wondering what can be done to ‘get back that lovin’ feelin’ .  It isn’t hard to understand, these aren’t really secret things, but cherished things between you two, or private things, like your difficulties.  If you as a couple need to get some advice, the best thing to do is… don’t go to mom & dad at all.  It is hard for mom and dad to separate themselves emotionally, not taking a side.  Go to a pastor, or someone you can trust, who you have admired their marriage a long time.  Try first just talking it out from a different place, looking at things through that other persons vantage point.  Conflict management should be handled on an individual basis for sure, but if you know that you are for one another, or at the very least, can commit to  look out for one another, have that persons back, start from there.  Whatever you do though, don’t embarrass them by revealing all the personal stuff only a spouse would know, is that something you would like them to do to you?

Whatever the secret may be, it doesn’t belong. You can justify in your mind why you may be keeping that secret, but once you reveal it, and deal with it, healing and reconciliation is possible.

1Jo 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and {yet} walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
1Jo 1:7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1Jo 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God is able, don’t think any situation is too bleak to fix, or any lie or secret is too wretched to be forgiven.  He does forgive, as will the person who has been offended, if they also will seek the Lord and His power to forgive. Please feel free to email me with prayer requests or questions, they will be confidential.

Read Full Post »

Pressure, Stress, Expectations… add emotions and fears, and you have a recipe for explosive confrontation. If  you and your spouse are in the same place,(stress wise )it intensifies the power of that explosion. First, I have to say by way of reminder, you are each others best advocate and cheerleader. If you haven’t become that for your spouse, it is high time you did.

Proverbs 18:14-22 The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, But {as for} a broken spirit who can bear it?
The mind of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
A man’s gift makes room for him And brings him before great men.
The first to plead his case {seems} right, {Until} another comes and examines him.
The {cast} lot puts an end to strife And decides between the mighty ones.
A brother offended {is harder to be won} than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a citadel.
With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied; He will be satisfied
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing And obtains favor from the LORD.

If you are tearing each other down because of your own stress, insecurities and fears, chances are very good you will break the spirit of the other.  Take a moment to BREATHE I am speaking figuratively here, but take a deep breath too.  Take care of those things you can, know that the rest will be there, and will work out.  As you see in the Proverbs I share with you here, a person can endure sickness, but not a broken spirit.  So… Lift each other up, pray together.  Have you ever actually Prayed Together? Out loud? Show how much you love each other, it will all turn out fine.   The mind of the prudent gets knowledge, and wise men seek advice from people who know better than themselves.  Seek counsel from a financial counselor, pastor, marriage counselor, etc. The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him.  In other words, don’t jump to conclusions, always listen to all the facts, and both sides of the story before you make any determinations about a matter.  A brother offended is  like a strong city, or (a fortified city) contentions like the bars of a citadel.  Let’s look at that picture a minute, if you offend him/her, basically the walls go up.  It is hard to break down those walls, or break into that bastion of personal security (the citadel).  The citadel was a stronghold in a walled city, think about the movie ‘The Two Towers’ in the Lord of The Rings trilogy, there is a great example of this.  The Rohirrim under King Théoden, who had taken refuge in the mountain fortress of the Hornburg at Helm’s Deep.  The King commanded his people to be taken into the depths of the  city, into the citadel of the city, and when it got really intense, into the ‘keep’  I apologize if this example is a bit “geeky” but what a mental picture of what happens to us when we are offended.  We draw back into our very own place of fortification against future hurt.  We harden our hearts, we even give up entirely. I have done this before, hardened my heart to any more hurt or future offense.  It is a tragic state, you are a prisoner of your own false security.  It takes losing your life to find it- Luke 17:33 ‘Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.’

Death and life are in the power of the tongue… I won’t belabor this one here as I wrote a whole blog on the subject earlier.  However, since it goes with our subject, and prefaces the next verse, I will say this, Is your tongue full of poison or honey.  Are you breaking the spirit, or uplifting?   Are you offending your partner or being their greatest advocate? Are you inside the Citadel, protecting your broken spirit?  Have you given up?

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD.  You need to believe this husband, You need to live this wife. Be For Each Other!

“They are one person
They are two alone
They are three together
They are for each other”

(Steven Stills)

Read Full Post »

A nagging wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day. (Proverbs 27:15) Drip, drip, drip… it makes you go crazy!  Have you ever been around couples, where the husband is passive, and the wife just drips continually?  Throughout the Proverbs, Solomon teaches his son about women, finding a good wife, among so many other things, he says this about that nagging woman: “It is better to live on the corner of the rooftop, than in a house with a quarrelsome wife” Prov 25:24.

So why the nagging? Is it fun? Do you just think he deserves to be shot machine-gun like with choice morsels of cleverly formed jabs, so he will be sure of your disapproval?  Don’t think I am only going to address how this applies to your marriage.  If you are nagging him, you are nagging your kids too.  Track with me for a minute, there is something at the core of this,  Much of it can stem from the poor modeling, you grew up with a “Hover Mother” constantly on you for this or that.  You could just be very unhappy with life, disappointed with how things have panned out, you are taking that frustration out on those around you…maybe you don’t even realize you are doing it.  Are you being accused of nagging?  You are undoubtedly frustrated with people not listening to you, not doing what you ask them to do, but how are you communicating?

There should be good communication between you and your spouse, if there is something you are having difficulty with, you need to talk it over while you are both in a good place, not when the issue becomes heated.  If, after he/she is spoken to, knows how you feel, and doesn’t respond, it is your turn to offer help, or just take it to God.  Many times God will change us, and our attitudes, before He changes someone else s’ bad habit.

Let’s address those core issues for a second. You need to so some soul searching here.  If things are coming out pear shaped because you are disappointed with your life, feel let down, you have unresolved bitterness, these things need to be dealt with. How?  The first step is recognize that they are there, next, you need to take them to God, he can heal you of those things, you should also talk with someone you trust, and pray with them about it.  I always say that the skeleton when left in the closet, has the power to get scary, but bring him into the light, and all he is, is old, lifeless, bones. Bring old “boney” out, and deal with the core issues, you will feel so much better!

For the life of me I just do not understand couples who cut each other down.  Worse yet, is when they do it in front of a room full of people.  It is like a dagger in MY gut, when I hear couples tear each other apart, or humiliate their spouse.  The entire room turns frigid with the lack of love, discretion, and prudence.  It makes you wonder what kind of relationship a person has, that they would cast their spouse in the worst possible light, rather than present the best side of them, knowing every flaw intimately, privately.  Being the most important person in your life, you want to be sure that people see the good in your spouse, not exposing those flaws, they are yours to know, you are one flesh.  You have each others backs, you will defend them and honor them to the end. That is how it should be!

So they don’t pick up after themselves, they have bad habits, you have things you have to put up with,old boney is rattling your cage, Yeah, So? I have only one thing left to say:

1Cr 13:4 Love is patient, love is kind {and} is not jealous; love does not brag {and} is not arrogant,
1Cr 13:5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong {suffered,}
1Cr 13:6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
1Cr 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1Cr 13:8 Love never fails; but if {there are gifts of} prophecy, they will be done away; if {there are} tongues, they will cease; if {there is} knowledge, it will be done away.
1Cr 13:9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part;
1Cr 13:10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.
1Cr 13:11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
1Cr 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
1Cr 13:13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Let the Love of Christ do it’s perfect work in us, we only have this short time with our family, with no “do-overs” don’t waste it nagging.

Read Full Post »

He was between a first born son, and a first born daughter, who was born only 11 months later. He was the lost boy. He was “hell on wheels” trying to keep up with big brother, who was handsome, and confident. Everyone got the attention but him, except for the fact, that in trying to keep up, he got hurt allot. As he got old enough to start figuring out ways to be noticed, to find approval, he started sports, and was very good at what he did, but the coach made him pay a heavy price for the pitcher’s position on the little league. Our parents were oblivious, they were busy. He tried and tried… He sold greeting cards door to door every year to buy all of us Christmas gifts, we didn’t notice his generous spirit, we were all too busy.

He finally decided to try the other approach, he knew he got attention when he got in trouble, so he started getting into trouble ALLOT!. They called the police and he went to juvenile hall, they couldn’t handle him, they called it being incorrigible. He came home,  the drugs, and drinking were keeping him from the pain of constant rejection. There was a point when it looked like things would turn around, when  he got into a serious accident that fractured his skull, landing him in the ICU for weeks. My folks were hand wringing for him, nobody knew what the outcome would be . Many who get this type of injury on a motorcycle without a helmet become impaired for life.  Physical therapy and teaching him to talk all over again, proved to be a good thing to reboot him, and connect him with my parents.

They actually did allot for him outwardly, he was a diver, on the dive team, so they put in a good spring board in the backyard pool. They got him classical guitar lessons from a very reputable teacher. They were doing outward things to keep him busy, but didn’t know how to get to the core of his problems, what the issue really was.

He eventually got a steady job, got married, had a daughter, got divorced, met another woman, had another daughter…Split up. They never got to the core of the issues, “Dad… I need you to love me, to listen to me, to accept me for who I am”. So the pattern you see, but there were deeper issues, soulish hurts, that little league coach, what unimaginable damage it has on a man. It wreaks havoc on future relationships if not navigated carefully with God’s help.

One day he came to me, rejoicing with a beaming face. He came to know Christ. I had never seen him so happy. My Father too, had turned his life to Christ before that time,so there was some real mending to do. Another day he came to me, a bit more concerned, but still filled with joy, he asked me if I could take him for an HIV test. I did, it was positive, and he moved in with my family for awhile. We went together, my husband I and my brother, to tell my parents,about his test results,  it was devastating. As you can imagine, as a parent, you wonder what you could have done differently, with my dad, he looks back and now that he knows what he knows, would have done everything differently, he is riddled with regret.

He moved in with a family who had a quiet place on a hillside in the country for the time that he was able to get around. They were friends from church, who had a spare room, and big hearts. When we thought it was time for my folks to have time with him as he was diminishing, we had him move in with them. He and my dad got to go fishing together several times, (he loved to fish) but later was bedridden for quite some time. He passed away on my birthday in 1993, he had a happy look on his face, I saw him just a few minutes after he passed into Glory.

So how does his story apply? Remember in previous posts, how I talked about knowing the character of your child? His was special, he was generous, entrepreneurial, ambitious, creative, and athletic. When a parent takes time to recognize the qualities in their child, and steer them in the way of those traits and characteristics, (Pro 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. )that child will not have the burdens of trying to prove their worth to a parent, or the mess of trying to figure out who they are. You are helping them along on their journey, their coach, and greatest advocate.  Listen to your son, affirm to him that you accept him for who he is, don’t just make him listen to your endless rants about you, and how it was for you- that is your deal… this is your chance to make it work for his future, this will prevent you from future regret.

For my dad, he got to know my brother at the very end of his life, and had a very short time with him. The times they got to go fishing together are precious to him, but if there was anything that I know he would wish for, and that would be, a chance to do it all over again, knowing what he knows now, that your children grow up much too fast, don’t be too busy, don’t take any of it for granted. Let love and patience be what guides you, pick your battles wisely, don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t impose your own dreams and failed ambitions or lack thereof on your sons, let the grace and kindness of your affirming words do their perfect work instead.

You know, there are so  many parents today, and every day, who have an unexpected sudden loss of a child.  What a tragedy, I have not had this experience, losing my brother was  an anguish that was deep, due to our closeness, I cannot imagine losing a child.  This, I want to be especially sensitive about, because it is so hard for those who have lost children, or for those who have kids fighting in the war, you want to take things back, get a second chance, before it is too late. Take the time to lay your soul on the table, about how much you love your son, accept him, and want him to know that there is nothing that can separate him from your love. He is just a keystroke , text message, or phone call away.  You have a daughter who you are at odds with? Now is the time… No time for regrets.



Joe 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten,

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »